Church Lane Gallery had it’s October preview on the 28th of September. This month our trio of showcase artists were Roger Shapley, Paul Coleman and Amy Cremmen. This also marks my first blog for CLG since I took over the website from Kitty Frilling who did a good job in setting it up when CLG opened on the 24th of March 2017.
‘Behind the scenes’
I am always amazed at what a transformation this small little gallery goes through at the end of each month. Our in-house refurbishment team, led by Sarah Smith does a brilliant job with all that they do in the weeks preceding the changeover – there’s the collating of what artists’ works will be coming down/taken away, what new work is going in it’s place, the stock sheet listing everything in the gallery, the labelling of all artwork to accompany the pieces and coordinating time slots for the removal of previous showcase artists’ works and receiving new ones. There are other aspects of the job too where Ella Hendy, Ruth Lyne and myself ensures all monthly showcase artists sends us their bios, images of artwork and of themselves, also their social media links to help promote the individuals profiles on our CLG Facebook page and website.
Showcase artists each have 1/3 of our long wall space to display an array of artwork that tells their story best. This change is paramount to how we utilise our space and serve all our artists fairly and equally. We not only showcase 2D artwork but there is an array of 3D work consisting of sculpture, jewellery, glassware, pottery, textiles and greetings cards featuring artwork by our artists.
Armed with my camera I got to look through the lens at some beautiful artwork exhibited by our October artists and more importantly as a roving blogger I get to ask the questions that I wanted our website visitors to know. Following in the order that our three showcase artists had their work displayed I shall make my way from the front of the window starting with Roger Shapley. Roger had chosen to display a few very large art work in oils depicting portraits that he was either very taken with or did portraiture studies on. I spent some time asking him who all these very interesting people were and why he wanted to capture their essence onto canvass. His colours were vibrant and made you stop to take in much more than the faces that he painted, they pulled you into the painting for various reasons.
Next up was Paul Coleman who is very new to our cooperative and has chosen Church Lane Gallery to display his artwork for the first time. I could see the excitement and accomplishment in his face when I talked to him about his work. Like Roger, Paul had a couple of large pieces in his inaugural exhibition. These were all landscapes in oils of places that he’s visited and knew that he had to paint the vistas before him. I got a sense of being in the outdoors hearing the water flow or rustle in the trees when I viewed Paul’s work. As I am not very keen on painting skies, I have to say that I was in awe of his!
Last but not least is Amy Cremmen whom I had the chance to see her artwork flourish over the months when she started applying mixed media to wooden boards. Amy loves nature and has captured an array of wildlife on light coloured wooden boards. Her style is so feather light but impactful with her detailing. Amy also recently started experimenting with Derwent Inktense watersoluble block and pencil on discarded hewn slabs or chunks of wood. They are amazing – the colours are so vivid when painted against dark wood which Amy then applies resin over to seal the painting. It was so wonderful to see images of Amy working these on her Instagram feed. They actually look good enough to eat once the resin was on!
These were my personal views as an observer but also as an artist. I had to get someone else’s views of the preview evening and on the gallery as a whole. Who better than Beth Coleman daughter of Paul who is also very artistic in her pencil sketches.
Beth Coleman had this to say:
“The open evening at the gallery was amazing. It shows the talent of the people from the co-operative and in a multitude of mediums. The detail of some of the pieces and the skill that is required to create them is at such a high quality. Being able to meet the artists and listen to their stories of where they got their inspiration from and how they put the pieces together was a lovely touch to visiting the gallery. It was also lovely to see the artists throughout the gallery bringing their families to see their work and the pride they all had.
The centre wall of the gallery this month has an unexpected theme of life. From Roger’s portal of human beings, to Paul’s memories of nature, and Amy’s detailed animal portraits and wood paintings. The studies of the subjects are so detailed and unique in their own ways that it brings every subject to life. And each artist uses their own technique to create movement and life within their art work.
As for my father’s (Paul Coleman) art work, I am proud of him. Finally after so many years of just keeping painting as a personal past time, now to release his artwork to the public, to be able to share his talent that his family are so proud of. The detail created within his paintings but with such simple techniques. Also to relive some of our memories which have been captured forever within his paintings is also an important part of his art work that makes them even more special. “
Kellie Wilkins is another visitor who gave us some lovely feedback:
“I spent a lovely evening in Church Lane Gallery at the opening of this month’s featured Artists exhibition. A great event to support local artists.
It was wonderful to see such a diverse range of artwork. From embroidered keychains to jewellery, from small paintings on slate to large canvasses there really is something for everyone’s tastes.
I especially liked the works by Amy Cremmen, she has many different styles using mixed media, slate, wooden canvas, and logs coated in acrylic.
Amy’s pieces ‘crash’ and ‘calm’ are just stunning.
Surrealist David Blackmore’s work also caught my eye called ‘Mannique’. A fantastic piece of work.
I got to meet and talk to other artists that will also be featuring in the gallery in the future, it was a great opportunity to ask questions about there inspiration and preferred styles.
I urge everyone to pop by the gallery at some point to support these wonderful artists and have a look at their work, maybe even take something home. The collective really is wonderful, I hope that more things like this pop up around Oxfordshire in the future.”
Thank you for taking the time to read about our October showcase. Do drop in to view all these in person. My photos cannot convey how they really look like – the vibrancy, the mood inducing and the scale. As a cooperative we are very keen to give you a change of scenery each month and this also gives all our members a chance to meet up, socialise and gain inspiration from each other. In return, we hope that we’ve managed to inspire you to continue visiting and supporting our little gallery on the corner of Church Lane and Church Walk.
~ Geraldine Pinto ~